2021 PBA Governors’ Cup Early Review: Baser Amer a Lone Bright Spot for Hapless Blackwater

Searching for their first win since the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup, the Blackwater Bossing continue to struggle in solving the same problems that have previously haunted them. 

Original photos via PBA Images

Overview

Through their first five assignments, the Bossing remained winless, placing them at the bottom of the standings. They are also losers of 24 straight games, which is the league-worst losing streak in PBA history. Rashawn McCarthy leads them in scoring with 15.4 points per contest, though he’s inefficient at 47.5 true shooting percentage (league average is currently at 51. TS%).

The Numbers So Far

Offensive RatingDefensive RatingNet Rating
91.8 (12th)110.9 (11th)-19.1 (12th)

Import misfit

For perspective, Blackwater had the worst offensive rating in the league last conference of 84.5 points per 100 possessions, per Stats by Ryan. A possible remedy would have suggested parading an import capable of being a main offensive threat, but the Bossing went another way instead — and the results foretold the same old script on the offensive end.

Category2021 Philippine Cup2021 Governors’ Cup
Points per game79.4 (11th)83.6 (12th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%)42% (12th)43.7% (10th)
True Shooting Percentage (TS%)44.8% (12th)46.1% (11th)

From the get-go, it was clear that import Jaylen Bond’s skill set wasn’t what Blackwater needed to jumpstart any spark on offense this conference. His numbers show it, with paltry averages of 12 points on 40/20/25 splits (40.8 TS%), 12.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 2 steals, and 0.4 blocks in 37.5 minutes per game.

Bond was utilized more as a screener and seldomly looked for his own shot. In short, his role on offense was limited, only to have a 19.2 usage rate – which ranks the 2nd lowest among imports in this conference, per RealGM.

And when Bond decides to take it upon himself, the results aren’t that pleasant. His inability to puncture the hoop only compounds the offensive woes Blackwater has gone through in the past conferences.

As Bond succumbed to a groin injury in their game versus Alaska last December 22, replacement Shawn Glover hopes to be the one that can provide a jolt to this Blackwater offensive conundrum.

Defensive issues

CategoryLeague Rank
Opponents Points Per Game101.0 (9th)
Defensive Rebound Percentage63.6 (10th)
Block Percentage4.2 (T-11th)
Opponents 3-Point Percentage35.3% (11th)

There’s nothing much to be said besides that Blackwater needs to find its identity on defense. Peeking at their numbers, we can decipher that they lack rim protection, they fail to close out on outside shots, and are unable to finish the plays by collecting the boards — all helping the opposition score at will.

To present a snapshot of how bad it’s been for Blackwater, let’s peep out the way they have defended the opposition’s transition attack. Take note: all these came from empty offensive possessions for the Bossing.

These handicaps on defense might be attributable through different reasons like personnel availability and just lackadaisical effort. A pressing matter that Blackwater has dealt with throughout the years, and needs to be fixed immediately if they are to get that breakthrough win.

Baser Amer’s playmaking

If there could be a bright spot in Blackwater’s campaign this conference, it is the improved play of Amer. After a horrible debut conference with the Bossing, he is currently averaging 8.8 points on 41/39/100 splits (56.9 TS%), all up from his numbers in the Philippine Cup. But most importantly, Amer has also picked up the cudgels as their lead floor general, with a team-best 4.2 assists per game.

Amer has always been known to be a willing passer, may it be on dribble penetrations or quick swings to open teammates, he looks out at the optimal shot available.

Being one of the most experienced players in Blackwater, there is no question about the ability of Amer to read various defensive coverages. This is mostly exhibited in pick and roll situations, where Amer acts as the ball handler, he perfectly zips out the ball to the recipient’s shooting pocket.

Against a stingy ball-pressuring team in Phoenix, the composure of Amer was best exemplified as a playmaker. Through full-court presses and blitzes, he showed the ability to make sound passes. That’s why Amer ranks 5th and 8th in terms of assist percentage and assist-to-turnover ratio respectively, according to RealGM.

We know what he can bring to the table and as his familiarity grows with the team, the more Amer can be an effective playmaker that Blackwater desperately needs.

The mantra right now for Blackwater should be developing the right habits towards a positive progression. They have a lot of ground to cover on both sides of the floor and their six remaining games could be an opportunity to build on something good.

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